Aya’s Cuban Boliche (Classic)
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Credit: Chef Carlos Villanueva
the National Culinary Review, January 2021
From the Chef
“Cuban-American Chef Carlos Villanueva, a Culinary Institute of America graduate and the director of culinary and operations for Puff ‘n Stuff Catering in Orlando, Florida, has nostalgic memories about Boliche Cubano, a classic dish from his heritage that his grandmother Aya often made. The dish features an eye of round roast beef stuffed with Spanish chorizo that has marinated overnight in a mixture of sour orange juice and other citrus juices. As with many Cuban dishes, the cooking process begins with sofrito — a sauté of onions, garlic, bell peppers and a touch of tomato paste. White wine, stock, bay leaves, cumin, oregano and olives are added to a Dutch oven or large, ovenproof pot, and in goes the meat for a braise until tender. While the type of meat can be changed up between a top round or eye, the key ingredients are the citrus, chorizo and sofrito, Chef Villanueva says.”
1800 g eye round of beef, trimmed
Chorizo sausage (the length of the eye round)
15 g garlic, smashed into a paste
1 g Cuban spice (Your favorite brand)
50 g La Vas Ca, 100% Arbequinas Oil
450 g onion, small dice
225 g red bell pepper, small dice
15 g garlic, minced
125 g carrots, small dice
175 g Roma tomatoes, seeds removed, small dice
25 g tomato paste
150 g white wine
5 g Cuban spice
1 g Dos Hermanas Pimentón
2 g Gordal olives, diced
1000g beef broth
5 g salt
4 each whole green plantains, peeled
Chorizo Stuffed Eye Round of Beef slow-simmered in a rich Pimenton and white wine tomato sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Make an incision in the eye round from one side to the other. Try to make sure to keep the hole in the center. The hole should just be large enough for the chorizo to fit inside. Rub the inside with the garlic spice paste, then stuff with the chorizo. Tie the eye round with the butcher’s twine. Season with the remaining salt and spice.
- Meanwhile, make the boliche sauce. In a sauce pot, sweat the onions, peppers, carrots, garlic, tomatoes until the onions translucent. Add the tomato paste and sauté until rust-colored and deglaze with the white wine. Add the spice, pimenton, olives, beef stock and the salt. Simmer for 10 minutes and set aside.
- Sear beef on all sides in a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot.
- Add the reserved boliche sauce, cover with parchment paper and two layers of aluminum foil.
- Place into the oven and braise for 2.5 to 3 hours, until tender. Once cooked, allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the boliche from the pot, skim the excess fat off the top of the sauce. Add half of the sauce to a blender and puree. Add the sauce and puree to a pot and bring to a simmer, taste and adjust seasoning.
- Remove the butcher twine from the boliche, sliced in ½ inch to 1 inch slices. Place onto a platter and ladle the hot sauce on top and serve with Cuban tostones or chantinos.*
- In a shallow cast iron skillet, add enough vegetable oil to cover the plantain pieces, over medium-high heat.
- Gently fry the pieces for 5 minutes, turning after 2 1/2 minutes. The plantain will change to a light golden color. Remove from the heat and drain on a paper towel. Using a plantain press or paper plate folded in half, gently press the plantain to form a 1/2-inch coin.
- Turn the heat up slightly, begin adding the plantain coins into the hot oil and fry for 4-5 minutes until golden brown on both sides.
- Remove from the oil and drain off the excess fat and season with salt.
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